Puppies Playing - How much "growling" is too much? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Puppies Playing - How much "growling" is too much?

Today Teddy and I spent time with her littermate, another female named Coda who is definitely a bit larger than Teddy. (They're almost ten weeks old.)

Anyway, they played outside and chased and tugged and fought and tugged and fought and growled and growled and growled.

And then did it all some more.

Is this ok?

There was no Momma dog to give corrections, and I wasn't sure what to do, if anything.

Jo & Teddy,my female german shepherd, born Christmas Day, 2011
"One reason a dog is such a lovable creature is his tail wags instead of his tongue." - Unknown

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 07:26 PM
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As long as both were enjoying it, it's not too much and yes it's okay

If someone is being a bully and the other puppy wants to leave, that is too much.

Growling in and of itself is not bad. You'd hear someone's tone change if they got hurt.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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As long as both were enjoying it, it's not too much and yes it's okay

If someone is being a bully and the other puppy wants to leave, that is too much.

Growling in and of itself is not bad. You'd hear someone's tone change if they got hurt.
Thanks! Teddy would definitely get tired of being the "underdog" and would crawl under the deck where her sister was too big to fit.

We then put each in a crate facing each other and went out shopping for a couple of hours. When we returned they were crazy, but not "as" crazy as before.

Jo & Teddy,my female german shepherd, born Christmas Day, 2011
"One reason a dog is such a lovable creature is his tail wags instead of his tongue." - Unknown
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 07:32 PM
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Look for signs of play like play bowing, tails wagging, switching who pins up and who chases who. If you see one dog getting repeatedly bullied, stiff body positions, tail held under or straight out or repeated efforts by one to stop play, then you know that it's escalating to something other than play.

My dogs sound like savages when they play, but it's all in fun. Over time you can figure out by your dog's vocalizations about how much is too much. I can tell by a certain tone to the snarl or bark that play has gone too far and then I step in to stop it.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 07:52 PM
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Oh yes you didn't mention that. If one's repeatedly trying to get away, and not just hide out of playing, then it's getting too rough on the other puppy's part.

They should change positions frequently, one being "boss" and then the other. One pins the other down, then they switch, etc.
It all should be reciprocal or else yes, time to separate and calm things down.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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Oh yes you didn't mention that. If one's repeatedly trying to get away, and not just hide out of playing, then it's getting too rough on the other puppy's part.

They should change positions frequently, one being "boss" and then the other. One pins the other down, then they switch, etc.
It all should be reciprocal or else yes, time to separate and calm things down.
Well, there were attempts at "back and forth" but my pup is quite a bit smaller. In the beginning, she did her share of chasing and grabbing, but as time wore on and she realized she would be pinned down 90% of the time, she started hiding underneath the deck.

Like I wrote, they did play a bit better after they were crated next to each other for a couple of hours.

Do you have any suggestions for making the next playtime go better?

thanks!

Jo & Teddy,my female german shepherd, born Christmas Day, 2011
"One reason a dog is such a lovable creature is his tail wags instead of his tongue." - Unknown
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 08:17 PM
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I'd just be involved more and distract when they are getting too rough
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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I'd just be involved more and distract when they are getting too rough
Thanks so much for your help!

Jo

Jo & Teddy,my female german shepherd, born Christmas Day, 2011
"One reason a dog is such a lovable creature is his tail wags instead of his tongue." - Unknown
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 08:59 PM
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During dog playtimes, we do the "Gotcha" game. It's basically just stepping in and interrupting the dogs, grabbing their collar and giving them a treat, and having them sit before telling them to go play again. If they aren't wearing collars (which mine don't in the house), then just getting them to pause and sit is enough, although sometimes I'll grab a slip lead and put it on for a few moments before removing it and turning them loose again. It's becoming a habit for our dogs to sit when we go to grab them in play, and look to us for a treat, even when they really want to get back to playing, since we don't end the playtime right then.

My hope is that even if I can't recall one of my dogs for some reason (while they are playing and not paying attention, as soon as I touch them or their collar, they know to stop for a moment for a yummy reward - and if it's a situation that I need to remove them from, I'll be able to at that point. I do also do a lot of recalls at various times and reward highly every single time, because I hope to build an excellent recall in the future. It's never too early to start working on that one!

My Dog: Krissie ~ Beagle Mix Extraordinaire 09/09
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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Great tips, Wacky.

They're only ten weeks old this Sunday, so they don't mind too well. I have been working on 1) making eye contact and 2) recall and 3) sit, so eventually I should be able to follow your advice. LOL I treat lavishly for recall. hehe

Jo & Teddy,my female german shepherd, born Christmas Day, 2011
"One reason a dog is such a lovable creature is his tail wags instead of his tongue." - Unknown
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